Posted on 15 January 2020
A New Year's Message from Andreas Beckmann, Regional CEO, WWF Central and Eastern Europe
“We have an opportunity in the coming two years to set a new direction for our society – to create a New Deal for Nature and People universally endorsed from political and business leaders to communities and individuals. If we get it right, we will create an unstoppable movement for nature similar to when the world came together to tackle climate change.”
- Dr Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF-International
In many respects, 2020 promises to be an auspicious year for the future of our natural world. A string of global fora from the World Economic Forum in Davos in January to a special session of the UN General Assembly in September and a global meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China in October will put a spotlight on the dire state of our natural world and the implications for our health and well-being. These fora also offer the opportunity to galvanise global action to preserve our living planet -- a New Deal for Nature and People.
The relationship between humans and the rest of the planet is dangerously unbalanced. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 chronicled the continuing, across the board decline of the natural world. Humans have wiped out an astonishing 60% of wildlife populations in just 40 years. While areas such as Central and South America and the Caribbean have been especially affected, our region of Central and Eastern Europe has not been spared.
Scientists studying our region warn that habitats and species are facing unprecedented pressures ranging from habitat loss and fragmentation to unsustainable forest management and poaching. These losses are already causing profound changes to the ecosystems on which we depend for our welfare, livelihoods and ultimately, our very existence.
We are facing a global existential challenge on par, and related to that posed by climate change. We need to radically escalate the political relevance of nature, and to galvanise a movement to drive change and ensure that public and private decision-makers understand that business as usual is not an option.
We need a New Deal for Nature and People – for the world, and for the Green Heart of Europe.
For decades, science has identified both the problems and the solutions. We need to change the way we use our land, forests and river systems, the way we build infrastructure and produce food. We need to preserve the most valuable habitats, including pristine forests and wetlands, as well as flora and fauna.
Technology and innovation have opened never before seen opportunities, from resource efficiency to circular approaches to products and economy. We need to seize these opportunities to drive a transformation of our civilisation. And we need to do this together. Only through the combined efforts of us all, across sectors and national borders, can we hope for success.
Let 2020 be the year we came together to take action for our planet and for our future.